Restaurant Revitalization Fund to replace lost pandemic revenue through 2023


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Restaurant owners can apply for up to $10 million in funds to be used by March 2024.

Ilana Arougheti, Copy Chief

Restaurants in Evanston and nationwide will be able to reclaim up to $10 million to replace revenue lost during the pandemic through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The fund, which was created through the American Rescue Plan Act, is intended to ensure that restaurants who have managed to stay afloat since last March are not forced to permanently shut their doors due to low revenue. The funding will not have to be repaid as long as it is utilized before March 11, 2023.

Restaurants owners will need at least two franchises to be eligible for the full grant, as each physical building is redeemable for up to $5 million from the fund. It is not yet clear when applications to the fund will open.

The plan is also intended to prioritize “equitable distribution” of federal small business grants to female and low-income restaurant owners, as well as veterans, according to a version of the fund application form released on April 19. The form also indicates that businesses with more than 20 franchises, a publicly traded stock portfolio or an approved bankruptcy filing will not be eligible.

Pandemic-related financial losses and nonrenewal of leases have already marked the closure of multiple beloved Evanston restaurants, including Unicorn Cafe and Andy’s. 

The American Rescue Plan Act in its entirety is a $1.9 trillion stimulus package and was passed by Congress in March 2021. The Act has funded a number of state, local and personal COVID-19 relief initiatives, including direct-deposit stimulus checks. It is also responsible for a planned $45.8 million cash injection to the Evanston city budget over the next two years.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @ilana_arougheti

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